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PIA standoff: Govt ups the ante by banning union activity

PIA standoff: Govt ups the ante by banning union activity

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday enforced the Essential Service Act for six months, a move which bars protesting members of the Pakistan International Airlines from participating in any union activity.

The aviation division had sent a summary to the prime minister which was approved today.

Employees of the national carrier have threatened to go on strike from Tuesday, February 2, in protest of what they say are the government's plans to privatise

PML-N Senator Mushahid­ullah Khan announced on Friday that the government had postponed the privatisation of the national flag carrier for six months and requested the protesting workers to end their strike.

Mr Mushahidullah asked the joint action committee of PIA employees to withdraw its decision of the strike and resume flight operations, otherwise the government would use its authority and impose the Essential Services Act, if PIA employees did not call off their strike.

Union to go ahead with strike

Soon after the PM's decision to enforce the Essential Services Act was announced, Chief of Joint Action Committee of PIA's protesting employees Capt Sohail Baloch told journalists that the body will go ahead with the strike they had announced earlier.

"We are going to go ahead with our plan. I don't know what the restrictions are… but if there are any restrictions we are ready to face them, even if we are baton-charged," he said.

"The government has till 7am tomorrow for negotiations, after that we will go on strike," he said.